- Peace for Shawn and I, for Kyle and Miranda and Braden and Connor, for our parents and siblings and nieces and nephews and inner circle friends watching and hurting as we go through this
- that God would keep soft our children's hearts toward Him through all the emotions of this hard journey
- strength and stamina; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually
- that the cancer shrinks to gone, gone, gone!
- gentle side effects to this second round of chemo
- family unity, harmony, love, strength, joy, happiness
- anything else you feel God puts on your heart

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Feeling like me again... almost

What a doozy the past week has been.  That first chemo of this second round of chemo came in like a heavy, wet, grumbling, exhausted, lethargic lion.  The chemo hit and I didn't know if it was the long drive time that had made me so tired (two days in to Vancouver in a row is tiring to me) or what... and as the days progressed and it didn't get any better I realized "it's the chemo".  So different from the chemo I was on last time.  Last time I got three good days, then a bad day, then a super bad day, then started to pick up.  This was just.... low for seven straight days.  No eating, no moving off the couch, pain and pain and discomfort in my joints and muscles.  Took us far too many days to realize what was going on and to get the meds schedule running and staying on top of it.  Too many nights of me writhing in pain in bed for too many hours each night, too exhausted to think straight and get the much-needed meds into me.   The whole thing just caught me off guard.  So strange.  I mean, it's not like this is "new" to us... and yet, it is.  A whole new chemo.  A whole new head space to be fighting cancer again.

This time I will be a "twice survivor" of cancer... our lips to God's ears, right!!! 

So, just harder, bigger, heavier, more to wrap my head around.  I could feel it in my people around me, they were feeling dazed and confused, "are we really doing this again?" I would lay in bed planning out my funeral.  I would like it to be held in the church I grew up in, my family's roots are deep there even though we have all moved on. I want my dear church Pastor to speak, please, Pastor Jim.  You are dear to me, we have long roots and family ties, I respect you.   I want the same casket my Grandma T had, it was a beautiful cream ivory brocade.  I would like to be laid out in my grey/red/black party frock and my retro heels, I want to be wearing all of my bracelets and my pearls and my amethysts.... but yet I don't want to be buried in those.  I would rather be buried in my black cocktail dress and I want Miranda to have the grey/red/black outfit... it is the one outfit that most feels like "me" and I want it to hang in her closet to remember me by... or a closet available to her.  And I could see Shawn sitting in the front pew, Connor on his lap, Braden tight under Shawn's arm, Miranda to the right of Braden, Kyle sitting straight-backed (as he does) on Shawn's left.  My Mom beside Miranda, Dad sitting supporting next to Kyle. Or maybe the other way around with Mom beside Kyle and Dad holding Miranda.  I just see my parents holding tight to my kids.  My sisters sitting behind Shawn and the kids with the cousins close, circling the wagons, building strongholds around my dearests.  Our Erickson family filling out the row.  The music playing is my 'peace' playlist.  After the graveside there will be a tea in the Lucas Center, so many roots in that room... Grandma T playing the organ, the time I was sick and laying with my head in her lap on the red pew in the foyer.  I'd like our family photo albums and my scrapbooks on the tables... please, please, please don't anybody spill on them.   Those albums are me.  They are my thoughts, my moments, our family, my philosophies.  They are the archive of who I am and what I have done and the fragrance of my style and my parenting.  They are guidebooks for Shawn and the kids, reminders of how I did it and why... not because Shawn will have to do things 'the way Kristin did' but because the insight might help him know how to go forward in his own way, will help him see what foundation he is growing the kids on.  My scrapbooks are fairly candid, the kids will hear my voice.  That makes me smile.  The only best rule to remember, Shawn... stop everything and drop down and hold them.  Just hug them.  That's the answer for every intense and overwhelming parenting moment.  Don't fight it, just drop into the moment and hold your child til the intensity passes and you can both figure things out.  Honest.  Trust me.  And at the tea they will play Toby Mac music... because my kids love it and I want them to run and dance and sing and smile and cry and be quiet and be tired and be whatever they need, but I want there to be unexpected smiles and they will know it's okay not to be always sad.   And these were the thoughts that gave me peace last week, in that hard week.  The reality might look completely different, and that's okay, my hard work will be done and I will be resting in perfect health and no belly injectionsm holding excitedly to Grandma T, hugging tight to Grandpa M, standing right there beside God just smiling and soaking in the love and serenity and lovely that Heaven will be.  Oh!  And Auntie Shirley... I will be telling her all about my four amazing kids and she will be so so proud and happy to hear about them!  I will be alright.  God will be holding me close and I know He will be holding you as you transition to life without me.  These things make me smile. 

Today was the trial drug day.  Back into Vancouver we went, Mom and I both rejoicing in the lovely blue sky and in the incredible colours of the leaves changing on the trees.  I was given a small IV bag of Benadryl and a small bag of another pre-med to guard against reactions... both have the power to knock me into slumber.  The chemo room we were in was a party place with pink feathers everywhere... the girl in the chair across from me was on her final chemo!  Woot Woot!  The lady who came in next was a hoot and her friend a total doll.  As the meds were trying to take me to la la land, we enjoyed good conversation and a friendly room.  I had my trial med and then the 1hr observation time... no reactions from me!  Hooray!  I did finally fall asleep but the chemo chair isn't that conducive to a good sleep.  I did manage to eat a sandwhich before chemo and then 3 chicken strips and a chocolate frosted malt after!  I also have much better breathing since the meds than I did going in this morning... my breathing was very laboured this morning. 

It just feels great to be less body-exhausted.  My brain is a little slow and my thoughts are a bit groggy, but I definitely feel more 'me' than I have in 7 days!  I'll take it!!!!

I am doing my part.  I am just still figuring out what that looks like this time around.  I am so glad to feel more 'me' today.  The worst feeling is the fear that I am no longer me, and that I will die 'not me' and my kids won't remember the exuberant and awesome Mommy that I have been.  That's a tough one.   So tonight I am just so so so so glad to feel ME!

The hair is expected to be fully gone next week... I'm making the kids... actually forcing them... play with it every night.  They're smart, they've caught on that the longer they play with it, the later they can stay up and watch tv with me! [wink]   Look how long that new growth is on the front top... so cute!  The back has gotten quite scraggly and it is definitely falling out today.   The kids have made me promise to save it and they don't want me to cut it... we'll see what I do about it when I look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings!  LOL

Thank you for your prayers, the meals, the love.  I wasn't able to reach out but I sure do openly receive every bit of love that you send my way!  Thank you!

Note:  Take Them a Meal account is still Kristin but the password has changed to 2013

ADDENDUM [October 24, 8am]:   Ah, you sweet, sweet, dear Team Kristin.   Please let me clarify that I am not planning my death.  I have not been told "you are going to die today".  I do not feel impending doom.  In fact, when I can talk about death and dying and 'life after Kristin' is when I am most at peace and it is just me balancing out one more fact of cancer.  People die.  People also survive it.  I fully feel that I will be a Twice Survivor.  I know that God has a plan and I am in it.  I understand, from reading your comments and care and texts (thank you, so so so much for each of those connecting moments, I love them!), that reading of me planning my funeral is hard.  It is strange.  It is scary.  It is something we don't talk about.  But, honestly, it did bring me peace to see that my loved ones were okay, even in that hard-weird moment of Mommy's funeral, they are going to be okay with me and/or without me.  That means I have done good.  I have raised them in the way they should go, as God wanted, intended, guided me.  I AM raising them in the way they should go, still, today, in this moment, and every day of my life.  What more could  a Mother's Heart want to know than that?  Please, peace to you, my dear ones.  With my love and gratitude for your caring hearts, Kristin


  1. I am so glad that you are feeling more like yourself after such a tough week. I love you my friend!!

  2. Holding you and yours tightly in our prayers!

  3. You made me cry...and then smile through the tears.
    Oh Kristin..I'm speechless.

  4. with you, be strong, Fatidjah

  5. Dear Kristin,
    I have read most of your posts and so feel connected to you and your journey but I don't often comment and so I'm prone to feeling like just a spectator. I tell myself that because of our long history, and "no-holds barred" conversations you know I'm with you, and not just watching, but I also know that whatever energy you have is taken up with living and with your family - as it should be.

    Reading about your desires for your funeral gave me more insight into the love you have for your family and how well you know each one. However, it is my deepest hope and prayer that it will be many, many years before that day comes. Heaven can wait.

    So this is the last week for your hair. I wonder if your new hair will come in curly or perhaps straight and sleek. I admire the way you tanglibly process these stages of cancer. You're brave. You are not allowing yourself to be backed into a corner.

    Chemo this time is like a heavy, wet, grumbling, exhausted, lethargic lion but you're like the indomitable mountain stream, winding it's way through and around all the obstacles, to reach your destination. You're moving toward health and there a gazillion people cheering you on.

    I often go back to the day when you called and said you received the diagnosis of cancer. That was tough to hear then and it's tough to see you have to fight this day after day. I wish it wasn't so.

    I'm so glad that in the moment you wrote your post you were feeling more "you". Today and in the days to come, I celebrate you and continue to pray for you, Shawn, your parents, sisters and families.

    A friend through all the seasons of life, Myra xo

  6. That was a hard read but at the same time happy today was a better day. Thinking of you often and praying for you.

  7. Myra said it best... Heaven can wait!!
    Praying for a much easier week!!
    Love you!!

  8. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. It oozes love and dependency on our loving Heavenly Father and at the same time you have such a courageous spirit. I continue to pray for you as the Lord brings you to my mind. I am thankful he does.

  9. I love that in the midst of all the hard times you can still find humor. Your crack about looking like Gollum made me laugh. I hope for your sake that you won't ever look like him. :)

    Praying that the coming days and weeks will get easier and easier.

  10. I don't know what to say. You are such a brave person, and I am glad you're my friend.


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